The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 12/29 Film: Way Off Campus Who you gonna call? I think we all know the answer: the top-grossing film of 1984, Ghostbusters! Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Sigourney Weaver star in the paranormal smash comedy, which inspired only one so-so sequel and a surprising number of video games. It was, of course, a simpler time back then, when special effects weren't quite so seamless and the greatest threat facing New York City was the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. The movie is a total star turn for Murray, playing the loosest and least professional academic on campus. Using Aykroyd as his uptight foil, with well-timed sideline zingers from the wonky Ramis (who co-wrote the script with Aykroyd), Murray is freed to embrace his inner, off-kilter leading man—he's like Cary Grant on mescaline, utterly assured in everything he says, even when nothing he says makes the slightest bit of sense. (Continues through Jan. 9.) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 686-6684, central-cinema.com. $6. 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER FRIDAY 12/31 New Year's Eve: Anthem for a New Year Some seasons ago Gerard Schwarz changed the format of the Seattle Symphony's New Year's Eve concerts from pops to Beethoven's Ninth. Its "Ode to Joy" choral finale still ends the evening on a note of celebration, but the work's first three movements will fold rapture, whimsy, and possibly even terror into your party mood. And contemplation, too: As prologues to the symphony, Schwarz conducts Wagner's Siegfried Idyll, a tender gift to his wife on the birth of their son, and Bright Sheng's Black Swan, his reworking of a violet-scented Brahms intermezzo for piano. Apparently, in that finale, it was Beethoven's own idea to swap in the line "Alle Menschen werden Brüder" ("All men will become brothers") for poet Friedrich Schiller's original. I'm surely not the only one who hears this line each year wanting it to be a bit truer, and who resigns himself to another year of hoping and waiting. Which is probably why Schwarz keeps playing it. (Also 7:30 Wed.–Thurs., 2 p.m. Sun., $25–$121.) Benaroya Hall, Third Ave. and Union St., 215-4747, seattlesymphony.org. $50–$150 includes dancing & midnight countdown. Concert at 9 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERT Film: Pen and Cursor The kids can have Tangled, but the 85-minute compilation Nine Nation Animation offers grown-ups a superior array of cartoon styles. From Turkey, Average 40 Matches uses stop-motion to render a kitchen-table rebellion, in which matchsticks endeavor to light a cigarette without benefit of human hands. The lovely and affecting Home Road Movies, from Britain, uses CG and motion-capture in a hybrid recollection of happy European family vacations; the colors are those of faded postcards and snapshots you might find in shoeboxes after your parents have died. Bâmiyân, from France, is all daubed paint and mythology, as different voices try to explain how the famous Afghan Buddha statues were created—then destroyed by the Taliban. Certainly the most modern work is Please Say Something (Ireland/Germany), created entirely by computer in a style suggesting Hello Kitty meets '80s video games meets Chris Ware. A couple, a cat and a mouse, has their love tested by illness, work, car wrecks, miscommunication, and windstorms suggesting old TV test patterns. The 23 vignettes, each 25 seconds long, are captured as if by surveillance camera. It's like every possible permutation of a wavering marriage or relationship—possibly yours—compressed into 10 minutes. (Through Thurs.) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, nwfilmforum.org. $6–$9. 7 and 9 p.m. BRIAN MILLER SATURDAY 1/1 Winter Sports: Expect Shrinkage The ninth annual Polar Bear Plunge really should be an Olympic sport, a contest for regular folks like us. There's no particular training involved and certainly no special diet—since you want as much fat as possible to stay warm in Lake Washington. (The water is usually a little over 40 degrees at this time of year, an instant cure for lingering New Year's Eve hangovers.) For equipment, all you need is a swimsuit or, better yet, a silly seasonal costume. As for technique, just wade into the water, hold your nose, and dunk. (Points for style and technical difficulty will not be awarded; and there's no need to worry about bias from the East German judges.) However, the post-dip routine is fairly critical. After exiting the frigid water, screaming in pain and (guys) clutching your diminished package, you should have a pit crew waiting with warm blankets and woolen clothing. If you can rig a dozen hair dryers to your car's battery, so much the better. The event organizers will provide hot cocoa, but no one's likely to object if you bring your own flask. Matthews Beach, 9300 51st Ave. N.E., 684-4075, seattle.gov/parks. Free. Noon. BRISTOL BLENHEIM III SUNDAY 1/2 Football: Bad Bounce In the Seahawks' final regular-season home game, the outcome against the slightly-less-pitiful St. Louis Rams is but a quibble before offseason debate begins on the following questions: (1) Is quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, a battered and weary 35, simply too old for the NFL? Is it not time for him to retire? And (2) if Charlie Whitehurst is to replace him, that dude needs to shave; his Jesus beard makes him look like a hipster who wandered onto the field ("Which way to Linda's, bro?"). And (3) what's up with Pete Carroll's grumpy-uncle sideline attire? The man wears a hoodie to work? We're paying you $7 million—show some professionalism! (4) Can we not just kill the 12th Man already? Honestly, we're sick of that sportswriter's cliché; everyone already knows that Qwest Field crowd noise is integral to the Hawks' defense. And, related (4a): Why should you, the fan, be paying to provide such valuable services? Shouldn't the team be paying you? And lastly (5), should the team miraculously make the playoffs despite a 7-9 record, can we really be proud of losing our way into the postseason? Qwest Field, 800 Occidental Ave. S., 622-4295, seahawks.com. $56 and up. 5:20 p.m. BRISTOL BLENHEIM III TUESDAY 1/4 Music: Happy 100 Veteran local quintet Pearl Django is known for a revivalist style of tight, up-tempo guitar jazz in the manner of Django Reinhardt and his Quintette du Hot Club de France. Their skill and fidelity to such gypsy-Gallic tradition is admirable, but sometimes you wish they'd slow things down a bit. That brake may come from virtuoso guest guitarist Martin Taylor, who joins them in a six-night stand. The English finger-picker once served as a sideman to Stephane Grappelli (Reinhardt's musical partner back in the '30s), but his later career has reflected postwar influences like Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass. He's a master of contrapuntal rhythms, of finding a secondary fill groove that can be hidden in the melody. But this week's teaming with Pearl Django is no accident: 2010 marks the centennial of Reinhardt's birth, meaning you'll likely hear standards like "Nuages" and "Minor Swing," rendered with millennial verve and that old-fashioned Paris stomp. (Through Sun.) Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave., 441-9729, jazzalley.com. $23.50. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

 
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